Asparagus and Cherry Tomatoes with Orange Pepper and Dill Eggless Mayonnaise

In mayonnaise-type sauces, all sorts of things other than egg can be used to form the base with which to amalgamate the oil. In this recipe sweet peppers add a specially good flavour.

If you like, you can grill the asparagus instead of steaming it. Serve with good bread, which can be torn up and dipped into the delicious sauce.

Ingredients

  • 675 g/ lb asparagus
  • 225 g/8 oz cherry tomatoes

For the sauce

  • 225-275 g/8-10 oz orange peppers
  • 4 large cloves garlic
  • 175-225 ml/6-8 fl oz extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon green peppercorns in brine
  • 1 tablespoon wine vinegar
  • generous bunch fresh dill, finely chopped
  • salt
  • black pepper

Method

To make the sauce, cut the peppers in half, discard the seeds and stem and chop the flesh roughly. Peel the garlic and chop roughly. Put 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a heavy saucepan over a medium heat. Add the chopped peppers and garlic, put on the lid and cook fairly gently for 10-15 minutes, until the peppers are completely soft. Leave to cool.

Empty the contents of the saucepan into a food processor with the green peppercorns. Whizz to a purée and then, with the motor running, add the remaining olive oil a little at a time, until the sauce has thickened slightly. Next whizz in the vinegar and season to taste with salt and black pepper. Lastly, turn the sauce into a bowl, stir in the chopped dill and refrigerate.

Shortly before your meal, cut off and discard the tough part of the asparagus stalks, then steam the asparagus until just tender and still bright green. Drain and rinse with cold water to cool quickly. Lay the asparagus on absorbent paper to dry.

To assemble the dish, lay out 6 individual plates and spoon the orange pepper mayonnaise evenly on to each one. Divide the asparagus into 6 and lay it on one side of each plate. Cut the tomatoes in half crossways — this makes a pretty pattern of pips — and place cut-side upwards on the mayonnaise, next to the asparagus.

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